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I Made an Exploding Death Star Bath Bomb to Teach My 4-Year-Old About Science

Thanks to Target for sponsoring this post.

image source: sara nevels | babble
image source: sara nevels | babble

For some mamas, the idea of letting your little one make something that explodes may sound chancy, but if Star Wars taught us anything, it’s that a little rebellion might actually be worth celebrating — or at least a bit of supervised rebellion. Like Amiyrah Martin, a mama who uses Star Wars to teach her son life lessons, I wanted to play on the excitement my 4-year-old son already has for Star Wars while simultaneously teaching him about science. To do this, we decided to make our very own exploding Death Star from the comfort of our galactic kitchen.

image source: sarah nevels
image source: sarah nevels

The main objective in weaving Star Wars into our little project was simply to get Hudson excited about learning, since he already enjoys the stories. At his age, I love how simple experiments can feel magical. After all, an exploding anything scores me big mom points, but weaving in a science lesson about acid-base reactions makes it a win in my book, too.

So with the weight of the galaxy on my shoulders, I got to work testing bath bomb recipes and here’s what I came up with for a foolproof Death Star Bath Bomb.

image source: sarah nevels
image source: sarah nevels

Death Star Bath Bomb Activity

Makes: 2-3

Supplies

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 10-15 drops essential oil (we chose lavender)
  • 2-3 drops black or gray food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Mold

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking soda, citric acid, corn starch, and Epsom salt.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients: oils, food coloring, and water.
  3. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. They will fizz a bit, which you will want to quickly whisk, thus stopping the reaction.
  4. Your mixture is ready when it has just come together — it should still look powdery but easily form a clump in your hands. (If it’s too powdery, lightly spritz with water once or twice. Be careful not to add too much moisture or the reaction will begin prematurely and the mixture will expand outside of the mold.)

    image source: sarah nevels
    image source: sarah nevels
  5. Now the mixture is ready for the mold. Overfill each half, then twist together to lock in place. Allow to dry overnight. (Note: You can use a round ice tray or circular mold, and add etchings or paint when you’re done to resemble the Death Star. Or if you’re a serious fan and already have a themed mold, use that.) 

    image source: sarah nevels
    image source: sarah nevels
  6. Now let the experiment begin. Once your bath bombs are dry, fill up a tub or sink and let your little one do the honors.

    image source: sarah nevels
    image source: sarah nevels

Ready to save the galaxy? We made a few, and my little rebel loved watching each one bubble up and “explode” in a fizz of lavender-scented glory. I explained the reaction to him as he dropped them in the water.

If you need a refresher course in chemical reactions, a bath bomb works when the base — baking soda — reacts with the acid (in this case citric acid). The dry ingredients on their own don’t interact, so the water is the agent that actually makes the reaction possible, forcing the two ingredients to touch, resulting in fizzing or an explosion.

image source: sarah nevels
image source: sarah nevels

As a mama it’s fun to see his understanding come together with an exciting visual to cement the concepts. I’m sure we have more family science experiments in our future.

Has Star Wars inspired you to rebel as a parent? Celebrate the launch of Rogue One with the latest product hitting Target on September 30.

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